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Solicitor fined for ignorring clients' letters - The Scotsman 7 January 2002
Solicitor fined for ignoring clients’ letters
Frank O’Donnell and John Robertson
A SOLICITOR who ignored scores of letters from clients and the Law Society of Scotland has been found guilty of professional misconduct and fined ?5,000.
Michael Robson, a solicitor for 26 years, was condemned by the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunalfor his “cavalier attitude” and told he could no longer act as a lawyer except under supervision.
The Law Society of Scotland, which operates a self-regulation system for solicitors, began an investigation into Mr Robson, 49, after clients complained he could not be contacted despite repeated phone calls and letters to his office in Ratho, near Edinburgh.
The tribunal heard that the solicitor, who has his own firm, Robson’s WS, ignored 50 letters from the Law Society. He was eventually brought before the tribunal, which is made up of lawyers and lay members.
In mitigation, it was said Mr Robson had an exemplary record. After starting as a sole practitioner in 1998, he had experienced cash-flow problems and did not have proper secretarial support.
The tribunal stated: “Regrettably the events recorded in relation to the present matters indicate that Mr Robson had a wilful disregard for the Law Society and its duty to investigate complaints.
“The tribunal were also concerned by his cavalier attitude towards the Law Society and his disrespect for authority and susceptibility to improper influences, and it was with this background that the tribunal has directed a restriction on his practising certificate.”
Mr Robson was restricted to acting as a qualified assistant for three years. After that period, he can return to the tribunal where “he would be expected to demonstrate he has a maturity and responsibility such as is expected of a principal solicitor in private practice”.
Ian Laird, 53, from Foulden in the Borders, was one of those who complained. He had hired Mr Robson to act in a long-running complaint against another solicitor.
Mr Laird said he was delighted with the decision, but added: “We need an independent body to investigate lawyers.”
The tribunal itself has previously been criticised by the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman for being too lenient.
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